From Boy to Man, via Parenthood
Last year, when I got to know that my wife is expecting our first child, I was thrilled, excited and over joyous. You always imagine yourself being a super dad & believe everything is easy, manageable and a piece of cake.
Little do you realize that the next few months will be a roller coaster ride, which would actually make you more-self aware and expose your true inner self to you. Today, I realize that perhaps this is the only time, when a boy transgresses a life-stage to become a man and a girl becomes a woman…no earlier. A child brings the closure of a chapter in life & you embrace upon a new chapter, one which is more exciting & indeed more challenging.
It was all easy in my life…nothing changed. Colleagues, office & friends stayed the same. When I saw my wife getting anxious over tiny things, I thought she was over reacting, nervous, and perhaps thinking too much. Only later do you realize that these seemingly trivial things matter a lot- to her, to you and to your child. It made me realize that women are wired differently and what may be important to her & to you as a couple yesterday, doesn’t remain the same today or tomorrow. You realize that trivial things need to be heard, need to be acknowledged and respected.
Being a father has its own set of challenges, because in addition to raising a child, you have to support not just a wife, but also a nervous & ever learning mom. Because as your wife goes through her struggles, she needs your support and your comforting, unconditional love. Each decision from choosing the right doctor to right pre-school becomes a herculean task. You might take a decision together, but the maximum impact is invariably on the woman- the mother, the wife, the daughter in law.
That’s when as a man, you need to change, adapt, camouflage your stress at work & try being a calmer person. Listening to a stressed out woman may not be the easiest thing in the world, but you need to listen, try to absorb, participate & support. Yes, as a human, you need support & comfort too…but now the role has changed. You cant let your work related failures, stresses or issues spoil your personal life. You need to grow up. Be the man, so to speak. A man with compassion, a man with a heart. That’s the true learning of life.
Because in the end, all you need is a happy family. Sacrifices, minor or major, never killed any one. As I always believe, when you see your family smile, you will always remember one thing- “the juice was worth the squeeze”.
About the Author
Arvind Narasimhan an investment banker by profession, with varied interests in sports, reading, movies, and life!
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